Monday, April 30, 2012

From Deborah

I love the word serendipity. It was the first word that came to me as I contemplated the challenge. I kept saying to myself, “You can’t use that…it came to you so automatically…you need to think about this. It haunted me. Clearly, it was meant to be the next word.
Happy accident is the concept that has inspired me all along. It was a sequence of happy accidents that eventually led to this piece. I’d been playing with some of Jean Wells’s piecing techniques in some 3 ½ x 5 ½ minis that I’ve been making. Then, I read about Gwen Marston’s book, 37 Sketches on the blog Had to have it. Gwen doesn’t do credit card sales, so I popped my check into an envelope, waltzed down my driveway, and left it for the postman to whisk away. Went directly to my computer and checked e-mail. Well…there was an invitation from Carol, one of our challenge group members, to join her for a “Sketches” class with Gwen Marston. Really??... I just mailed her a check for that book! How could I refuse? Not only would I be traveling to Carol’s place for the class; her husband would simultaneously be traveling north to take a painting class that my husband was teaching. When he’d registered for the class, he wasn’t aware of that happy accident.
Gwen was delightful. I managed to sew together a bunch of strips during her one-day class. Many of the components are waiting to be plunked into other sketches. There’s a 3”x7” chunk in the middle of this finished piece that I’d completed that day. The rest I did at home during several days after the class. It’s no accident at all that periwinkle and chartreuse figure in…they’re my 2 favorite colors. It will be good for me to work with some less familiar colors as we go along with our challenges.
This piece doesn’t comply with our minimum dimension guidelines! It’s about 9 ¼ x 11 ½. I struggled to stretch the width, and inspiration just didn’t arrive. So here it is. I enjoyed the sketching process and I intend to keep playing with it! 
Serendipity.    Of course it was serendipitous that I met Deborah in the first place at a class.......and serendipitous she asked me to be part of this........and last month she had ordered a book from Gwen Marston and had been to the mailbox to get it.....when she came in and looked at her email there was an email from me inviting her to a class we were having with Gwen in New Jersey.   AND at the same time my husband was going to Hudson River Valley Art Center where I first met Deborah, to take a PAINTING class with guess who?   Deborah's husband!   I had given him a class for Christmas now realizing that it was Deborah's husband.........and so while Don was there with her husband, she was in New Jersey with me taking a class with Gwen!   Serendipitous!   And the fabric I used I had hand-dyed over the years and I used little pieces of it in the exercise we did.   All so unplanned........I like it that way!

This is before it was quilted.   I will put the quilted ones up shortly as soon as find them in iPhotos!   This was lots of fun to do.   If any of you haven't seen Gwen Marston's 37 SKETCHES book or had a class with her, it is alot of fun to do these small studies.  

I am looking forward to the next WORD and CHALLENGE.   Deborah is coming back to visit and take a dyeing class so I am sure the next challenge will include some of that.   I am looking forward to seeing all the creativity here.............

Serendipity - oh yes !

To be honest - I had a really hard time to come up with an idea for this challenge ;-)) After a while and lots of fruitless consideration ... and while I started to give my studio a major spring clean ... a first vague idea started to form in my head. What if I only used what I "find" around? And make do? Hmmmmm ... a very old UFO turned up.
I cut it down to size ... and stared at it ... till I realized that it is spring outside ! Lovely weather - the sun is shining, fresh green everywhere! So - how about quilting plants?
After I was done with my quilting, I looked at my piece and liked it - so far. Of course it was not finished ... so I went back to organizing my studio. And yes, another lucky incidence happened - I found some artificial flowers I bought some years ago. I teared them apart ...
... and added some stems with couching. After I did the binding, I added the leaves (by sewing) and the flowers with hot glue. And here it is - my finished quilt "Serendipity" !!
A very old UFO and some other remnants - and the result is a happy, cheery little quilt! The size is about 16" x 14".
I'm pretty much relieved that I got my quilt done in time this time ;-)) - and I'm looking forward to see what you all have been up to!

Pennsylvania Serendipity

I really wrestled with this challenge, coming up blank for a number of weeks until one day I realized that I was just trying too hard.  If I was making a quilt based on the word “Serendipity,” I should make it serendipitously. And so I began.  I could think of no more serendipitous fabric than one of my snow dyes, and I chose a piece with teal-y blue highlights and lots of the texture that snow-dyeing produces. I put in some cerulean blue slashes with hand reverse applique to bring out the blue highlights and then I was stuck so I set it aside until the next serendipitous moment.

I decided to sandwich the top and do some machine quilting to emphasize the textures in the background. I was playing with shapes to applique on top of this when I serendipitously thought of the nautilus shape, a shape that has always fascinated me, and wondered what it would look like if I exploded it.

I obviously liked it so much I added another and then exploded some circles as well.  In the spirit of serendipity, these are all non-fused, raw edged, and machine appliqued. And this was a stretch for me, since usually I like to finish the edges, but I think the frayed fuzziness fits the serendipity theme.

 I added some clusters of French knots in perle cotton for a little more texture, faced it and it was done!


Sher's Challenge Quilt

My piece is serendipitous for several reasons. I have been wanting to do a small art quilt for my dad's apartment. He was just 86 last week, lives in the Quad Cities (on the border between IA and IL), and he's lost much of his sight due to macular degeneration. The Quad Cities (he lives in Davenport, IA) hosts the Bix Biederbeck Jazz Festival each summer along the Mississippi waterfront. It's a hot, but great music festival and 7 mile run. Where it runs through Davenport is the only location along this major river that the Mississippi runs east to west; everywhere else it flows from north to south.

So I rescaled a map of the Quad Cities' boundaries and the river as a pattern and used the orange dyed fabric to represent the summer heat and sun, the colors to show the liveliness of the music. It is bright enough for him to see even if he can't make out all the detail. I did some metallic thread hand-quilting on the orange. Also used fused and mostly raw edge piecing. I didn't really like the way the small white strips look; they represent all the bridge locations, but it's done and he'll like it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How is everyone doing?

Happy spring to you, too, Carol, and to all of you.  I kept meaning to respond earlier but April, like March, seems to be flying by. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been having a tough time coming up with an inspiration for our challenge word. And it's one of my favorite words, so it should have been easy.

I even spent time looking up its origins, which seem a bit convoluted and, well, serendipitous. It supposedly came from "The Three Princes of Serendip," a supposedly Persian fairy tale, but Serendip was actually an old name for Sri Lanka. And the discoveries made in the fairy tale were not the "happy accidents" we now usually associate with serendipity but were more like Sherlock Holmes discoveries, based on keen observation and strong analytical abilities. This was becoming a dead end so I abandoned that path.

Anyway, last week, I serendipitously came upon an idea and have finally begun work as the deadline has begun to loom.  And how are the rest of you doing?